A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this teen dating and social networking site offers too many opportunities for unmoderated interaction, including video chat and several (nearly empty) chat rooms. Profiles are visible to anyone who visits the site unless users change their settings to hide them. There are lots of links to chat and dating sites that are geared toward adults.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Is it any good?
Our Teen Network bills itself as a safe social networking and dating hub for teens. With its primitive design and lack of innovative features, it's no match for sophisticated social sites like Facebook, and safety isn't the first word that comes to mind. Although the site makes an effort to keep strong language and identifying information off users' profiles, its chat rooms are unmoderated. Odd, useless features like "calculate chemistry" and "today's biorhythm" -- plus an obnoxious "hot or not" poll -- add nothing to the site. Technical glitches made the "3D City" virtual world impossible to explore, and the site's sign-up options are a bit puzzling -- the "I am a" choices are guy, girl, gay, and lesbian, as if those categories were mutually exclusive.
Online interaction: Registered users can interact with each other in a variety of ways, including video chat and a virtual world. Chats aren't monitored or moderated.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Internet safety with social networking sites. What information should you include in your profile, and what should you leave out (besides identifying information)? This site is supposed to be for teens only, but how can you be sure that people aren't misrepresenting themselves?
Families can talk about how flirting online can sometimes backfire. This site lets users send a "wink" to people they think are cute. What should you do if someone is showing you unwanted attention online?